This editorial space is usually given to highlighting our own Deck and Patio projects. But, occasionally, we give a bow to work done by others that impresses us.
Such is the case with the following Chicago, IL pond. It was designed and built for his own backyard by Brian Helfrich, lead designer and president of construction at Aquascape, Inc.
Aquascape is the leading water garden innovator in North America. From aquatic plant information, pond design ideas and equipment, to training/certification programs, they are the final word in koi ponds, water gardens and fountains.
“Brian is a water garden expert who was able to turn his backyard into a personal water garden retreat,” says Dave Stockwell, owner of Deck and Patio. “It’s outdoor living at its finest.”
Helfrich built his pond over 10 years ago which has become a delightful backyard escape during all seasons. Soft moss has collected on the boulders and rocks, and other rocks have been softened by the use of ground covers like Hostas and other smaller plants.
The trees in his yard have also matured. To help create privacy and, where needed, block unattractive views, conifers like Green Giant Arborvitae or Norway Spruce were used.
The water feature oasis is a blend of ponds, streams, waterfalls, gazebo with bridge, beautifully landscaped areas, and patios. The first photo of this expansive refuge (below) shows one of its waterfalls. It was positioned close to a welcoming patio where, “Friends and family gather for meals and celebrations,” says Aquascape.
“A pond or water feature adds so much to outdoor entertaining and living,” says Dave Stockwell. “And just like Brian did for his project, when we construct ponds, we always try to include adjacent or close by patio areas.”
Whether it’s a patio or bridge or deck, a pond is an attraction to more than adults. Children love ponds, including feeding koi. A pond is truly interactive in that way.
Koi ponds were once a characteristic of Japanese gardens, but have been growing in popularity around the world. And why not. Listening to the sounds of trickling water, while watching colorful koi swim around throughout several seasons is transforming.
Speaking of the seasons. We love ponds all year, even in winter, but autumn can be an extraordinary experience.
Enjoyment of a well designed pond, like the one Brian Helfrich has built, begins in the morning when you’re having that first cup of coffee.
A well-placed pond with streams and falls will be viewable from the most used rooms of your home and especially from the kitchen.
“It’s wonderful to watch the leaves bud, grow and change, and see it all reflected in your pond,” says Dave.
Bridges add a lovely design element to a backyard pond oasis. Here, Brian’s structure acts as a walkway along the side of his home. Plants and shrubs offer a pleasing “softscape” contrast to the rock and wood “hardscapes.” Note how the design makes it all appear organic, with water flowing in and around all the hardscape areas.
The above two photos show two of the waterfalls that are part of the overall water garden. The one on the left is a waterfall cascading down into the pond, while the one on the right is a “pondless” waterfall, which is a perfect place for very young children to play. This pondless waterfall has been designed to let the water to seep through a “pebble beach” area before being filtered, captured below and recirculated.
We’re told by Aquascape that small birds love the pondless area and use it as their own private oasis to congregate, drink and enjoy a bird bath.
The feature photo at the top of our page today is of one of Brian’s waterfalls captured at night. Landscape lighting helps create a very special mood in and around the pond when, as they described it, “the yard feels almost magical.” Brian says he designed the water feature but he built it with the help of Certified Aquascape Contractors across the country. Deck and Patio is proud to claim that same status.
To see more photos of this pond and learn more about it, click here.